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An Aria A Day #77

SUSAN ELLIS
‘Wanjoo’ (‘Welcome’)
Words and music by Gina Williams
Piano Dr Bradley Voltz

24th July, 2020

Incandescent vocals meet the Noongar language spoken by the traditional people in the far south west of Western Australia.

Noongar boodja (country) covers the entire south-western portion of Western Australia. The boundary commences on the west coast at a point north of Jurien Bay, proceeds roughly easterly to a point approximately north of Moora and then roughly south-east to a point on the southern coast between Bremer Bay and Esperance.

Over many years the Noongar language has been reduced to a whisper, but the language is now experiencing a beautiful renaissance due in part to singer-songwriter Gina Williams.

Written in 2009, ‘Wanjoo’ incorporates elements of a Welcome to Country and has been shared with close to a million people across Australia. It has also been performed in New Zealand, Canada, America, France, Guam, Indonesia and Japan.


A message from Susan Ellis, who first performed with Opera Queensland in our Young Artist Program:

The intent of the song, ‘Wanjoo’ (‘Welcome’), was to be used by Gina and her three children. She took it to her language class for her teacher to check and correct. The teacher loved it, and Gina found herself teaching it to her classmates who in turn taught it to folks they knew.

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